For my dead father 1957-2017
Here is artifice: these books, this grain—
The knots and notches severed from a pine,
The gilded words on every leather spine,
The lumber scraped and straightened by your plane.
You’d measure twice, cut once, then dull your pain
With work and whisky, sharp as turpentine.
But here is artifice in every line.
Unlike the iamb natural to the rain,
The din of tools sounds something like a dirge,
As if you’re still in the garage, head down
And muttering some short, improper noun.
I’m at my desk. I’m waiting to emerge
With words like Yeats’ I look at you and I sigh;
Or other foolish words: Death, thou shalt die.